Planning for Success in 2019
NATIONAL REPORT — With e-commerce and other technology advancements transforming the way people shop, the competition for "convenience" has never been fiercer in the retail industry than it is today. It’s no coincidence that the theme of the recent 2018 NACS Show in Las Vegas, the convenience store industry’s largest annual gathering, was "Compete."
Rather than focusing on the delivery of a compelling fuel offer that brings people to the stores — which has long been the strategy — c-store operators should instead focus on delivering a compelling in-store offer that will bring people to the fuel side, NACS President and CEO Henry Armour told attendees of this year’s NACS Show in a keynote address that focused on change, disruption and the future of the convenience channel.
"Let’s not get caught, either as convenience store operators or as suppliers to c-stores, thinking that we are an insulated channel. We aren’t. The world competes for the convenience shopping occasion and channel walls have not only crumbled, they are being obliterated," Armour cautioned.
With this in mind, Convenience Store News presents its 2019 Category Planner, designed to be a c-store category manager’s one-stop reference toolbox for evaluating performance and consumer trends, and planning business strategy for the coming year.
To fill that toolbox, our first-ever Category Planner provides individual toolkits for the most important categories in the convenience channel: prepared food, dispensed beverages, cigarettes, other tobacco products, packaged beverages, beer, candy and snacks. These toolkits contain essential insights, developments that will have the greatest impact on the category in 2019, and a planning calendar with key dates for marketing opportunities.
As another speaker at the 2018 NACS Show — Casey McKenzie, senior principal consultant at consulting firm Impact 21 — said, "We don't plan to fail; we fail to plan." So, set your priorities and goals for the new year, determine what resources you need to achieve your goals and develop a plan to regularly monitor your progress and make adjustments as necessary.
With the right category management tools in their toolbox, all c-store operators can adapt and evolve with consumers’ wants and needs. We hope our 2019 Category Planner provides you food for thought and helps set you up for much success in the coming year.